five favorites (02/03)

I didn’t get this done on Friday, but what better way is there to start the week than with a “Five” post? These always put me in a good mood. I love sharing my joy.

ONE. Last week, Michael had a business trip out to Utah! We missed him so much, but we made it through. The girls were all such HUGE helpers the entire time he was gone. They even kept lists so they could show Daddy their good deeds. We took them to Sweet Frog for frozen yogurt as a special treat when Daddy came home.Just being all together is the best ever.Eve was really happy about getting something sweet.We sure missed our Daddy!TWO. In addition to the conference he went to, Michael had a whole lot of fun in Utah. He got to see Kevin and Jack, visit with some of his cousins, and stay the night at our dear friends’ house. To be honest, I’m totally jealous I didn’t get to go and see all of them, too!He was able to visit some temples. This one is Manti!He was also able to do some work in the Provo City Center Temple. We saw this being built about 6.5 years ago. It’s so beautiful! Look at these amazing clouds he flew through on the way home. The fact that humans can fly at all is still so amazing to me. This is breathtaking.THREE. What’s better than a baby fresh out of the bath? Those big blue eyes and cute hooded towel over her head just melt me.Also, these pruney little toes!Tickles from Kaelyn. Kaya loves to help give Nella and Eve their baths lately. She even made a mohawk for Nella! This was too funny and cute.FOUR. Kaelyn might still be in Kindergarten, but she completed her math books back at the beginning of December, and has moved on to her first grade curriculum. Math comes so easily to her, so she’ll just do as many pages as she can in a day. It feels crazy to already be going through this book again, since Kaya did the same one a couple of years ago. How does time go that fast?I’m so proud of these girls and all their hard work.FIVE. Kaya is getting really good at using my camera. She took this in manual mode, using back-button focus. She’s done it a few times now, and I’m really impressed. She keeps filling up her own camera’s memory card, too. I’m sure she’s going to get into photography when she’s older.Happy Monday!

mill mountain zoo

Back in the fall (when the weather was still warm and glorious!), we went up to Mill Mountain Zoo for the first time ever. It was the morning of Kaya’s birthday party, and we thought it would be a really fun activity to do with the Grandparents in town. Luckily for us, our friends, Ben and Brittany, were also in the area, and agreed to meet us there. We had quite a group! It wasn’t crowded at all, and it also happened to be a special-event weekend, where they had different booths set up by various nonprofits. The girls ended up getting various free things, like sunglasses, bouncy balls, cups, pencils, and bubbles. They even received several quality books courtesy of the public library.

Eve really knows how to rock a pair of sunglasses!Blowing bubbles kept Nella occupied for quite a while.The actual zoo was incredibly small, so we really only saw a few animals, but I really enjoyed the simplicity of it. Some favorites included this Snow Leopard……the Red Panda (who we also got to observe during feeding time!)… …the Bald Eagle……the Red Wolf…
…the Eastern Screech Owl……and some turtles! The girls loved seeing all of these in real life so much.There were also some fun crafts, like this paper Red Panda and some pinwheel flowers! While the older girls did crafts, Eve had some Grandma snuggles and snacks.She also loved having some extra play time with Daddy. Her cute little belly button peeking out in this one really gets me.We all went to an “Animal Encounter” show, where we learned some facts about ferrets, and the girls even got to pet one. Afterward, we waited for the zoo train, which only runs once an hour. Ben read a book to everyone while we were in line.I also took a bunch of pictures while we waited, because why not?Yay! So happy I could spend some time with Brittany.And my mom!Baby switch! No one was quite ready for this picture.We squeezed onto the train, all except grandparents because we literally took up the entire thing. It was such a fun little ride!We went around the zoo twice!Ben and Brittany headed home, but we stayed a little longer so we could do some of the extra activities. We met a giant Red Panda!Kaya and Kaelyn both had their faces painted. This might have been the highlight of the trip for them. I loved watching their reactions when they looked in the mirror for the first time. Cutest little kitty. Sweetest little Dalmatian.This is surely one of my favorite memories. I’m grateful for all of these amazing Grandparents and our wonderful friends. Those smiling faces are everything to me.

five on friday! (11/15)

We’re halfway through November already. I really can’t believe it! I’m trying my best to get caught up on here before the holidays start.

ONE. Our beloved Kangaroo Kids class has officially ended until next year. I have just as much fun as the girls do, and I really could make a whole post out of it, but I’ll just keep it to the highlights here.They loved this new inflatable pizza.Kaya and Kaelyn ask about these hopper balls nearly every week. These were one of my favorite things in my elementary school gym class, too.Bubble time is Evie’s favorite! She is also obsessed with the bounce house now that she screams when we get out of it!Eve is also now a pro basketball player. Her little ponytail and headband made this even more adorable!

Michael got to come with us to an evening class (unusual for us, but it was a make-up class), so I had extra time to bounce around with the girls. This is one of my favorite things for sure.

TWO. Michael went to a conference at Cornell University last week. He even had the opportunity to present! I’m so proud of him for all the amazing presentations he does and how well he represents his team at work.He got to enjoy some snow, but thankfully, it didn’t affect his flight home at all.So pretty! I love seeing other university campuses.The girls had a very hard time with him gone, which meant they were constantly waking up at night and crying. It was rough. We did do quite a bit of Facetiming with Daddy (and when you have four little girls, it’s totally normal to have a unicorn on your head)!Kaya sent Daddy this text, and I thought it was just the sweetest representation of how much she loves him.We’re happy to have him home!

THREE. Our children’s museum closed at the beginning of the year in order to renovate a new space and move! We really missed going, and it seemed like forever until it was finally done, but it opened last week! We went for the first time and had so much fun with all the new play areas.The girls loved the vet clinic and had to play there first, of course.Eve loves guinea pigs, so this piggy was her best friend for the rest of the day. (Also, those fuzzy boots on her just melt me!)Daddy had just as much fun building tall towers and knocking them over.Kaya became a builder!They had these benches that you could decorate with markers. Kaelyn surprised me by writing this on the bench, and I hope they never paint over it.Kaya made a cat, of course!FOUR. This one was from a few weeks ago, but I love time with our friends so much that I had to put it in here. We had a few play dates with Aaliyah and Talyah at the playground before it got so cold. The girls play together so well, and I am grateful for friends.FIVE. After a rough week with Michael being gone, and then the girls taking turns being sick, everything felt hard. Sometimes, I feel like I’m doing this whole motherhood thing wrong, and I get discouraged. Without ever knowing how much this means to me, Nella took the special sticker she got at Kangaroo Kids (hearts are her very favorite), put it on a paper, and added some yellow scribbles. She gave it to me and said, “I luh you”. My heart melted.These precious little moments are what get me through the hard days.Happy Friday!

five on friday (07/26)

I’m sneaking this post in just before it turns midnight! We’ve had a whole lot going on here, and as usual, I feel like this post just barely scratches the surface of it all. Here are just a few fun things from lately:

ONE. Michael had the opportunity to go to Scout camp last week as a leader for our church Stake! It was a challenging week without him (and I really really missed running), but he was very much needed and definitely enjoyed getting to know some of the young men better. Plus, look at this view! He was mostly offline the entire time, too, which sounds really peaceful, although we definitely missed talking to him.His selfies in our photo account are always fun to find. This is the most facial hair I’ve ever seen him have!
We totally looked like zombies by the end of the week, but I was so happy to have him home!!!

TWO. Nella and her baby dolls… If she’s not playing “Mommy and Baby” with the Calico Critters, she’s taking care of a baby doll. Actually, she is pretty good at pretending anything is a mommy or a baby, even her fork and spoon at meals or her sippy cup. I’m really hoping this little lady grows up to have a bunch of kids because it’s so deeply ingrained in her nature to care for them. Of course, she’s kind of a goober, too.THREE. We’ve had some fun at the library with the summer reading program! We went to a hilarious puppet show one week, and another week, we saw a balloon show. The girls each got to pick a fun balloon to take home at the end. We had butterfly wings, a flower, and just a crazy spiral balloon.The individual beads on Kaya and Kaelyn’s necklaces were earned for each book they read independently. I am so proud of these big kids!FOUR. We went to a different playground than we usually do, and the girls had an extra fun time trying out all the different equipment. This one reminded them of the balance scale we’ve used for math.We didn’t even realize there was another whole section to this park with a giant wooden castle, which actually reminded me a lot of a playground I used to go to when I was young. They had a blast over here playing with our friends!Bianca and I tried to contain the babies in here, but Eve still ended up eating dirt and crawling everywhere she wanted to go.FIVE. May your weekend be as happy as a one-year-old with bubbles…She absolutely cracks me up. And her little face just melts my heart every time.Happy Friday!!!

five favorites (05/06)

It’s been almost two weeks since I logged on here, and I can’t believe how time is just flying by. We have had a whole lot going on around here (Conference weekend, Easter, two races I’ve run, Michael traveling), and I’m really hoping I can catch up on all of that soon, but for now, here’s a little bit of our lives lately!

ONE. Kaya and Kaelyn have been doing swim lessons this spring and are absolutely loving it. Kaya just completed her second session (and moved up to level 2), and Kaelyn finished her very first session and is doing awesome. They look forward to this all week!

TWO. We got a visit from Brittany and her THREE kids a couple Fridays ago! This was our first time meeting baby Henry, and he sure was sweet. Look at all these kids between the two of us now! We were also laughing about how Henry is vastly outnumbered. Alice and Nella hit it off almost right away and played together all day. Kaya, Kaelyn, and Caroline eventually warmed up and ended up building forts to play in. The only thing that could have made it more fun would have been having the rest of our original playdate group here, too! Blurry, but I still like this one, so here it is. I’m grateful for lifetime friends!

THREE. We had our very first visit to the nature center with Bianca and her kids! This is the kind of picture you get when it’s just too sunny: They were obsessed with the sandboxes and played in them almost the entire time.This topographic sandbox was awesome! I love hands-on things like this.Kaya loved this turtle named “Blueberry”.

FOUR. Would this even be a post without Kangaroo Kids in it? The girls enjoyed some hula-hoop fun!“Look, it’s Saturn!”I am kind of obsessed with putting Eve in every ball pit and taking her picture. Drumming in a pool of rainbow kickballs!Eve is really getting into all of it and having so much fun every time we go.

FIVE. We need a little more Nella in this post… so here she is! She is really into coloring and drawing scribble pictures lately. My office always looks like an explosion of art supplies… but I’m grateful the girls love creating and using their imaginations.Nothing beats this smile.

Happy Monday!

five favorites (01/14)

I meant to write this on Friday, but as life goes, I’m finally sharing on a Monday! It’s one of those rare days where we’ve finished school, dinner is already prepared, and the older girls are playing quietly while the little girls nap, so I feel like I can take a few minutes to hop on here and blog!

ONE. A new year means new classes for the girls at church! They are always so excited to move up to the next age group. I didn’t necessarily plan to take “first day” pictures of them, but they remembered that we did this last year and were willing to do it again. Kaya is looking like such a young lady these days.I’m a little sad that Kaelyn isn’t our little Sunbeam anymore (there’s just something extra sweet about that first year in Primary), but she has the same teachers for CTR 4 and loves going to class just as much as ever.Evie still just hangs out with us, and I am more than okay with that. Look at these two cuties!Nella most likely wouldn’t have posed with the chalkboard, but she did put this Santa hat on and smile for me. She moved up to “senior nursery” and I just can’t believe she’s so big.

TWO. Perler beads have taken over our house. I’m pretty sure that whoever lives in this house will forever be finding these little plastic beads. See that tub? There’s 22,000 of them in there!Really, though, Kaya and Kaelyn absolutely love these (admittedly, I do too… so many childhood memories)! They have spent hours and hours this past week creating anything they can imagine.Hello Kitty!(Yes, Kaya was wearing lipstick this day!)Skye from Paw Patrol!I’m starting to get better at ironing these a little more evenly (parchment paper seems to work best)!

THREE. Lelia and I went running on Christmas Eve, and we ended up going nearly 8 miles instead of the 6 we had originally planned. We had such a good time that we somewhat spontaneously decided to start training for a half marathon together. This is something we’ve talked about doing for awhile, and I’m beyond excited that it’s actually happening! My paces have been seemed more consistent, and dare I say, a little faster, than the last time I did this, so I’m really excited to see what I can do on race day!I had a 9-miler and a 10-miler this past week! Woohoo!FOUR. We started back to school last Monday. It was refreshing to have just over a month off for the holidays (and our Spain trip), but it feels good to be back at it and checking things off. I’m proud of my little first grader and how much she’s accomplished already this school year. It sounds crazy, but summer doesn’t seem that far away!It’s also so nice when your friends are homeschooling too! Our girls love being together, and I’m grateful that homeschool has allowed them to still have playdates in the middle of the day. (Photo credit to Bianca!)FIVE. I might be a little obsessed with the movie Moana right now (seriously, how cute is Pua the pig?), but I’m super obsessed with this smiley baby. It doesn’t get any sweeter than this!Happy Monday!

five on friday (7/21)

This week has felt jam-packed (in the best way possible), so I feel like this is the longest Five on Friday I’ve written in a while! We’re having fun and getting all we can out of summertime, which makes my heart so full.

ONE. The weather is finally feeling like summertime should… HOT! We’ve had plenty of fun outside! We’ve all been enjoying the hammock, although the kids don’t quite understand that it’s meant for resting and relaxing, and not swinging as fast as you can in it. Ha! We had a “picnic” with friends, Aaliyah and Talyah! I love how making kids this age happy is as easy as putting a blanket out on the deck and eating outside.  Scout loves being out on the deck too!

TWO. We’ve found several little friends outside this week. This woolly bear caterpillar was walking across our driveway one evening, and Kaya was eager to pet it and hold it in her hand. She insisted on keeping it, so we made a little house out of an empty milk carton, and Kaya picked some leaves and flowers for it to eat.

Kaya declared it a girl, and named her “Caterpillary”, with a nickname of “Fuzzy” and a last name of “Wuzzy”. Caterpillary “Fuzzy” Wuzzy. We’ve had a lot of fun learning all about this type of caterpillar, and it’s provided several hours of entertainment for Kaya already.

We (or should I say, Scout) also found this little baby bird out in the yard this morning. It looked like a Mockingbird fledgling, most likely working on learning to fly. The girls were so excited to say hello to this little guy, but we made it a quick visit so we wouldn’t disturb it or its mama bird too much.

THREE. When Kaya styles your hair, you might end up with four bows in it all at once… … but still look as cute as ever!

All three of these ladies together… breaking my heart with a cuteness overload! Kaelyn’s working on her “smolder” face, obviously (and she hasn’t even seen Tangled yet)!

FOUR. Nella’s been having some form of dinner every night this week. We tried apple-prune puree, as well as strawberry Greek yogurt. The latter has been her favorite so far!

FIVE. Last, but definitely not least, I guess we’ve “officially” started our homeschool kindergarten curriculum! We’ve been nonchalantly doing schoolwork through the summer, but this week was sort of my test run to see how well we could stick to a more structured schedule.

Kaya is absolutely loving her new math book, and if she keeps working at the pace she’s going, we might be done with kindergarten math by Thanksgiving. I love that we can go quickly over what she already knows, and spend greater time on units she needs more practice in. Kaelyn has been using some preschool books from the dollar store, and is just as eager to learn! I’ll probably be writing more about our homeschooling adventures, but for today, I’m just excited to say we’ve started!

Happy weekend!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

five on friday (07/14)

ONE. We had an extra-fun week, because my friend Amanda and her two boys, Liam and Ryan, came to stay with us for a couple of days! We’ve known them for several years, but they moved away, and the last time we visited with them was nearly 3 years ago!We got some of our original play group back together for some fun, but we definitely missed having Katherine and Brittany there, too. Bianca invited us over for lunch on Thursday afternoon, and we enjoyed watching our kids play. In total, we’ve added three new little people to this group since the last time we were together.Kaya and Liam didn’t remember each other, even though they practically met at birth. They were fast friends though, and played together constantly once Kaya didn’t feel so shy (even though my girls couldn’t seem to remember the boys’ names, and kept calling them “The Big One” and “The Little One” instead of Liam and Ryan)! We sure were sad to see them leave!

TWO. This is how the girls come down to breakfast lately… It’s a good thing we only have three kids, because Michael is out of arms!

THREE. Nella started computer programming this week! 😉 Everyone wants to be just like Daddy.

FOUR. When you take out your long-forgotten selfie stick, and the little girl who most dislikes being photographed strikes the cutest pose next to you… I love this sweet, pigtail-haired three-year-old!

Sweet, sweet girls. I love how they cuddle up to me for a picture.FIVE. The best entertainment for Nella is always, without fail, her sisters! Kaya was rolling across the floor over to Nella, just to make her laugh. She loved it and could have done it all day long. I love watching them play together.

Happy Friday!

five on friday (01/27)

ONE. We went to a big birthday bash for our friends, Aaliyah and Talyah, this week! My girls were beyond excited about having cupcakes. Funny enough, despite all her enthusiasm, Kaelyn didn’t even take a bite out of hers.

Kaya fell in love with the elephant pinata, and was the queen of collecting candy once it was broken open. Sadly, another kid tore the eyes and most of the paper off of it after this, and Kaya was on the verge of tears to see her new friend ripped to shreds. She’s so very sensitive and loving, even toward fake cardboard animals.

TWO. We’ve been doing some more work on the house, from small things like changing out all the brass doorknobs to a “brushed bronze”…

…to painting the office (which is still in progress)! Have you figured out what my favorite color is yet?

THREE. This little princess has started having very animated “conversations” with us every day. She coos, grins, and just melts your heart. Her excitement multiplies a hundred fold when you smile and talk back to her!FOUR. I’m getting a new nephew!!! Lelia and Jeff announced this week that they are having a sweet baby boy in June, and I just cannot wait to meet him!Of course, we had to recreate this silly picture from nearly five years ago (what?!) when I was 15 weeks pregnant with Kaya, but we comically reversed roles and shoved a kitchen towel up Lelia’s shirt. Lelia actually sent me this picture in a card in the mail to announce their pregnancy a couple months ago, and I was so excited that I could barely talk when I called and left her a voicemail.
Really, I’m so happy for this sister of mine and I can’t wait to see our babies all together.

FIVE. Speaking of little babies… I love my sweet, sleeping angel, tucked in so tight.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Linking up here, here, and here today!

pre-christmas visitors

The weekend before Christmas was one full of visitors! I absolutely love it when our friends and family take the time to drive up here and spend some time with us. We’ve seen so many people move out of our town, so I always end up feeling a bit nostalgic for the “good old days” when we get to visit with everyone again.

Ben and Brittany came to Virginia all the way from Texas to visit their family for Christmas, and spent a day and a half of their trip with us. It was fun to see how much their kids have grown in just 5 months. Kaya and Caroline were instant buddies! They played together all day.Brittany got to meet the baby! Nella was pretty comfortable and took a long nap in her arms.
Brittany and I had a girls’ getaway date to the craft store and Sweet Frog. It seems like Michael always takes the kids out for frozen yogurt when I’m not able to be there, so of course, we had to take a picture to send to him and make him a little jealous.It was a crazy-windy day, and eventually, the powerful gusts caused our power to go out. Ben and Brittany were going out for Brazilian food, so we decided to join them. I’d never tried any before, but I ended up really liking it! Who knew beans and rice could be so flavorful?
Kaya was pretty obsessed with Alice. I think she was amazed that a baby could play and move so much (compared to Nella, who’s still working on learning those things)!After Ben and Brittany went home, we got to hang out with Jeff and Lelia (and Fallon)! This was their first time meeting their newest little niece!
Lelia and I got in a good run together on Saturday morning, which is always my favorite part of her coming to visit. I completed my longest postpartum distance thus far- 6.4 miles, so despite the rain and slick trail, I was happy with my progress.
They couldn’t stay long, so they headed out in the early afternoon. I’m grateful for any time I can get with so many of my favorite people!